Justin Verlander says the baseballs used in Major League games this season are "a f---ing joke" and that he believes "100 percent" that the league has implemented juiced balls to increase offense.
The 36-year-old pitcher has allowed a Major League-high 26 home runs this season.
Players hit 3,691 home runs in the season's first half and are on pace to hit 6,668 home runs, which would obliterate the record 6,105 hit in 2017.
"It's a f---ing joke," Verlander said. "Major League Baseball's turning this game into a joke They own Rawlings, and you've got [Rob] Manfred up here saying it might be the way they center the pill. They own the f---ing company. If any other $40 billion company bought out a $400 million company and the product changed dramatically, it's not a guess as to what happened. We all know what happened. Manfred the first time he came in, what'd he say? He said we want more offense. All of a sudden he comes in, the balls are juiced? It's not coincidence. We're not idiots."
Manfred, who became commissioner in 2015, acknowledged on ESPN's Golic and Wingo the difference in the balls. He has denied any involvement from the league in changing the composition of the ball.
"We think what's been going on this year is attributable to the baseball," Manfred told Golic and Wingo. "Our scientists that have been now studying the baseball more regularly have told us that this year the baseball has a little less drag. It doesn't need to change very much in order to produce meaningful change in terms of the way the game is played on the field. We are trying to understand exactly why that happened and build out a manufacturing process that gives us a little more control over what's going on. But you have to remember that our baseball is a handmade product and there's gonna be variation year to year."